Does life really have to be a series of grief and goodbyes? Are you tired of people saying, “your parents did the best they could” and “get over it already!?”
Many adult daughters and sons of narcissistic parents bring these repeated phrases to therapy and wonder if they are the crazy ones. Although there are many out there raised by narcissistic parents, the pressure to present the “perfect” family is still paramount in their adult lives. I hear the guilt when discussing the family and the related pain when others do not understand the psychological portrait of the narcissistic family. Many report this lack of understanding even in the mental health field.
When a narcissistic parent raises you, you likely feel like the invisible kid. The little one who’s soul is murdered each time you endure being ignored, neglected or emotionally abused. Children need emotional “tune in” from their parents. There is no excuse for not providing this attention to children. This is the one time in their lives they do have an entitlement. It is an entitlement for love, nurturing, empathy and unconditional love. Without this, children do not develop a solid sense of self. They grow up with nagging self-doubt, trying to prove themselves at every corner just like they did as youngsters while constantly twirling for approval and attention from their self absorbed parents.
The after-effects of being raised by a narcissistic mother or father are immense and far-reaching. The effects are seen in future relationships, career choices, parenting the next generation, and in development of sense of self. This is a form of child abuse called emotional and psychological abuse and clearly cannot be condoned. When someone says to you “they did the best they could" or "get over it already,” it is yet another minimization and discounting of your feelings. We cannot make this ok. Children and their emotional welfare are far too important.
If you are beginning to recognize the disorder of narcissism in your family, you may begin to feel like the lone ranger. Denial is rampant in these families and others often do not want to face or embrace it. Recovery is possible – it works - and I urge all readers to engage in the five-step recovery model discussed in Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. For an inspirational story that will kick start your recovery, see also The Giraffe Story shown on this website: www.willieverbegoodenough.com . Come join the giraffe club and give us your thoughts and words of wisdom. We value the support of others in this recovery endeavor!
As each of you work recovery you may find that grief extends to not only the parent you did not have, but to other family members as well. As you realize the need to separate and build your own life and niche, you may also experience the loneliness of this grief process. Don’t bend yourself around the distortions of the narcissistic family or try to normalize it and make it ok. You will suffer in the long run as you have already suffered in childhood.
It’s ok to face the truth and work your own internal recovery. What you thought was “normal” was not. But…to re-learn, re-parent, and move on is hopeful and sustaining. Look for support systems that understand and nurture. Find those other giraffes! They are out there sticking their necks out too and hoping to find YOU!
Additional Resources for Recovery:
Resource Website: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com
Book: Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/the-book-2/buy-the-book
Audio Book: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/the-book-2/buy-the-book
Workshop: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Virtual Workshop. Work recovery in the privacy of your own home, complete with video presentations and homework assignments: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/workshop-overview-healing-the-daughters-of-narcissistic-mothers
Daughter Intensives: One on one sessions with Dr. Karyl McBride
“Is this your Mom?” Take the survey: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/narcissistic-mother